Chivi students exposed to Covid as school returns to lessons

Morris Bishi

Chivi – About 80 pupils at Ruminya Secondary School in Chivi are paying their teachers US$5 or R100 per subject per month to attend lessons in violation of Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

The lessons are carried out from the teachers’ houses and children are going to school without masks or sanitization, The Mirror has been told.

Parents who spoke on condition of anonymity said they fear for the health of their children but they can’t withdraw them from the lessons because they will lag behind other students.

Sources said the lessons are being carried with the full knowledge and blessings of the school head Tsikisai Kwanisai. Lessons run from 8am to 1pm throughout the week and there are about 20 students per each class.
Kwanisai professed ignorance about the issue when asked for a comment. He said he is not aware of what is happening at the school since he has been away since the beginning of the lockdown. He also promised to investigate the issue.

Masvingo Provincial Education Director Zedias Chitiga said conducting lessons of any kind in schools is a violation of the Ministry`s regulations on Covid-19. He said that his office was going to investigate the case as a matter of urgency.

He also said it was illegal for teachers to conduct lessons in their houses within the school yard.
A Mirror reporter posing as a parent called one of the teachers, Thomas Chikukwa who teaches Mathematics and asked for a place for a child who is not a student at the school. Chikukwa offered the place but warned the reporter that the lessons are illegal and therefore must be cautious.
He said that the child can turn up even without a mask.

Covid-19 provincial taskforce spokesperson Rodgers Irimayi said there are other reports that teachers are conducting private lessons in the various suburbs of Masvingo against lockdown regulations. He urged residents to report such cases.

“I am hearing this for the first time, this is dangerous and it will be investigated. It is our responsibility to deal with such issues even if they teach from homes within the school yard” said Chitiga.

“You are free to bring your child, we are teaching from our homes. Lessons start at 8am until 1pm. We are charging US$5 or R100 per subject per month. Your child should come even if he does not have a mask since we use rooms within our houses. We know that it is not allowed that is why we are doing it from our homes” said Chikukwa.

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